On Discussions With A Guy From Oshkaloo:

Obama drinking a GuinnessThere’s a song about Southie that starts: “I had an argument the other day with a guy from Oshkaloo.” Well I’m going to plagiarize a bit and say I had a discussion the other day and I think it’s that guy from Oshkaloo.

Here’s how it went. Oshkaloo objected to my articles on the Red Sox. He noted: “What is it that makes you believe that running a business and making a profit are evil things. . . .  Every one of us in in some form of “business” (which you consider an ugly word) …[various people] are all trying to improve their condition in life by making as much money as possible so they and their children can have a better life. Except of course for the politicians, judges and government employees who are only interested in the public good?”

I responded: “Running a business and making a profit is a good thing for the guys who run it, their employees and stockholders. It’s just I don’t want to cheer for a business. I don’t suppose there would be much business if we didn’t have the politicians, judges and government employees that make everything work . . . “

Oshkaloo replied: “WHAT ???? “I don’t suppose there would be much business if we didn’t have the politicians, judges and government employees that make everything work” This is the most unbelievable remark I have ever seen !!! Obviously it was the “politicians, judges and government employees” who made our nation what it is – the ones who wrought our independence from the British tyrants and fought in the Civil War and built this industrial mega-nation and fought against fascist imperialism and who continue to put their lives on the line fighting the enemies of freedom. If there is any group of people who are least responsible for making things work in his country it is the “politicians, judges and government employees” who stand in the way of freedom and progress. How in the world can you conclude that this bunch is responsible for anything but a huge drag on our economy and our freedoms?

My response was: “Aren’t our soldiers government employees? Who were those guys who fought in the Civil War, some Kellogg Company employees? Didn’t our government pay to build our highways or was it Bank of America? Don’t the cops keep us safe or is it the Apple employees?  Don’t the teachers educate our kids?  Don’t the firemen save lives? 

Weren’t George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln government employees? Weren’t all the Army, Navy and Marines in WWII so employed?  Did any business army keep us free? Don’t the politicians allocate the money to fund the mega-nation you talk about?  Isn’t NASA from which we’ve learned so much benefited the nation?  Doesn’t the CDC protect the people from disease? Isn’t the FDA valuable for the health of the nation? Isn’t a nation of laws which are made by the judges the cornerstone upon which our nation thrives?  Isn’t the incarceration of brutes and barbarians by prosecutors conducive to our well being? Don’t we need government employees to protect our borders and control our air traffic?  I could go on and on but I think you get my point.

No nation on earth has ever been successful without politicians, judges and government employees. Perhaps if you know one you can enlighten me. 

How can you have freedom and progress without government employees? It wasn’t business that introduced child labor laws. It wasn’t business that set up the public education system or our libraries. It wasn’t business that set minimum wage standard. It wasn’t business that let people organize. But it was business that set up trusts. It is business that must be restrained by our anti-trust laws. 

It wasn’t business that built public housing but the government. It wasn’t business that tried to help people it was the government with probation officers, truant officers, child advocates and people working with victims of crime. 

You may suggest they are a drag but a country without all those government programs and government workers protecting it would be something be akin North Korea where people have no rights of representation (our government holds the elections) or freedoms (the judges protect our civil rights as do the police). I haven’t heard of any businesses thriving in a society like that.” 




12 replies on “On Discussions With A Guy From Oshkaloo:”

  1. don’t you think that if it was up to the money class the rest of us would be back with yokes around our necks or, more than likely nowadays, they would barely need us at all when they could have robots, computers and illegals do it all without lunch or a smoke break.

    the me generation rules, the con is S.O.P., watch the birdie, we have met the enemy and it is us, if you think it can’t get worse, it can.
    money talks, in God we trust everybody else cash or 25% vig compounded

  2. Reagan “simplicity” created 20 million jobs, cut interest rates and inflation in half, lowered all income taxes 25%, cut the top rate to 28% , won the Cold War and lifted the spirit of the American people and the reputation of the nation worldwide. Has the present office holder’s ” sophistication” appealed to you? How has his economic, domestic and foreign policy worked? How did Clinton do as president? He and Ginrich repealed the Glass-Steegall law ( banking regulation). They removed all restrictions on options and futures trading thus producing derivatives, credit default swaps, and the sub prime loans. Clinton had as much to do with the financial melt down as Bush. Clinton also is a disbarred lawyer. sex predator and thief ( Marl Rich pardon). Couldn’t you find someone better to compare Reagan to than a disbarred lawyer? Plus having lived through the eighties and nineties one knows the jobs created in the boom Reagan years were greater than later times. In 1999 and 2000 we had the dot com bubble under Clinton and an illegal war against Serbia. There are always historical revisionists. Liberals refuse to credit Reagan with anything. Every policy of Reagan was opposed by Tip O’Neil and the liberals. His military build up. His tax cuts. His deregulation. His support for anti communist resistance movements. His confrontation with the Soviet Union and SDI. Reagan gave the country a formula that worked. It was a blueprint for security and growth. If the country repeated his policies we’d be 100 times better off. Reagan made the country stronger militarily, economically and morally. All of his successors have dissipated those accomplishments. Our military, economic and moral strength have diminished. Iran Contra was as big a scandal as the Probation scandal ( an invented offense) Clinton was a degenerate. His conduct in the Oval Office proved it. Follow Reagan’s program and the country can thrive again. Continue the big government liberal nonsense that prevails today we will remain in the mess we are in.

  3. Want some wars we shouldn’t have fought? Iraq, Vietnam, World War I (many historians criticize our efforts/involvement there.), and throw in the spuriously triggered Spanish American War, then the bombing of Serbia to help the KLA terrorists, and the bombing of Libya (NATO can’t act without US technology; Libya’s a disaster and NATO in Europe has become Napoleonic). Also government did a splendid job in funding the radical Muslim radicals in Syria. Government lied to us in Vietnam and sent 58,000 Americans to their death and nearly 200,000 more wounded. Government carpet bombed and firebombed, and even if necessary evils, these things are now banned as War Crimes. US Government today is too imperialistic and the CIA intermeddling way too much in other countries’ affairs. Even as a staunch conservative, a Bill Buckley, Pat Buchanan conservative, I like what President Obama is doing in foreign policies; cutting back our war efforts, but striking judiciously at ISIL (L for Levant?), and using special forces to take down Somalian pirates and to execute the evil-doer, Osama Bin Laden. Keep up the good work, Mr. President. Of course, I think President Obama is too liberal, but like bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Ike and Harry Truman, I know I’d enjoy having a cup of coffee or playing a little handball or basketball with anyone of them. Good men. Not perfect!

    1. Clarence:
      You wrote: “How much do government employees contribute to our nation’s GDP. Zip!!!
      What’s your problem Clarence, don’t you understand what this nation is about. It’s more than GDP, there’s nothing in the Constitution about GDP. It’s about “we, the people”, not “we the contributors to the GDP?” I don’t know why you don’t use the Howie Carr term for government employees. He calls them “hacks.” Use it, that’s what you think of them with your GDP foolishness.
      But I have to admit you have a point, the government employees contribute nothing the GDP. But so what? Why does that matter in your estimation? Does it make a person a lesser person if they don’t? I know this guy Jake who contributes to the GNP. He works in an assembly line at the Green Shoe Company putting heels on shoes. His friend Pete doesn’t contribute in your estimation. He joined the Army and became a Ranger. Good old Jake contributing; the sluggard Pete not.
      Here’s a good story about this other sluggard. He went to public school up through high school and then, if you can believe it, went on to college which was paid by the government. After that, he got a government job which he worked in until he retired. To top it off, after retiring he then went back for another eight years working in a higher paying government job. A real hack, don’t you agree. He never contributed to the GNP. His name is Eisenhower. You may have heard of him.
      Let’s see all the people who don’t contribute to the GNP. All the judges so we should get rid of them. Come to think of it, all the people in the court system don’t contribute, the trial lawyers, the probation officers, and the other court officials. I guess in your book there is something wrong with them. In your world the GDP contributors would be just fine in a world without law and the way to enforce it.
      Who else doesn’t contribute to the GNP: Doctors, lawyers, and I suppose even Indian chiefs don’t. They all detract from our community. None of them make anything that can be sold. Doctors and Lawyers are the worse. I’ve never known one who added to the GDP. At least you find an Indian chief who opens a trading post or casino now and then.
      Oh yes, we can’t forget all those others who leach off the system and don’t contribute: the teachers, professors, cops and firemen; all worthless bums I guess in your eyes. Imagine all those hacks not contributing to the GNP. I wonder what should be done with them.
      My, my, you sure have a good standard for measuring people. Don’t forget all those people in the armed services who work to defend us they’re also non GNP contributors.
      It seems to me when you consider all the people in the country who don’t contribute to the GNP and suggest that somehow they are deficient you are left with very few people who add to our society.
      You know that guy Eisenhower, let me tell you something about him. He proposed a national highway system. And listen, this may surprise you, those politician you hate allocated money to build it. Government employees designed these highways, the politicians allocated money to take land for them by eminent domain, the judges insured those who lost land were fairly compensated, the government employees surveyed them (I know that because I worked on a state surveying crew one summer doing what is the Southeast Expressway), and government employees made sure the work was done right. Do you think the GNP would be anywhere near it is without these highways, or our harbors, or the airports that are operated by government employees? You even need government employees to tell us what the GNP is. What a shame.
      Another thing: I know there are lots of companies contributing to the GNP who get huge amounts of government funding like those in the arms business, if we got rid of the hacks where would they get their funding?
      I’m not sure what you think but government employees and GNPers working together have been responsible for this nation’s GNP. It couldn’t be what it is without them. Even the internet was a government employee creation.
      You vision a strange world that exists with no government employees. You seem to buy into some myth that they are unnecessary when they are in fact the base upon which the GNP is based.
      How about telling me how you would like to see a country operates since you seem so dissatisfied with the way the U.S. runs.

  4. Reagan was right when he said ” government is not the solution, government is the problem”. When he reduced taxes and de regulated the economy he tamed inflation and created almost 20 million jobs. Is some government needed ? Yes but not at the gigantic level it now is. Are government schools superior to private ones? Is government housing better than private? Is government transportation superior? Hardly. The money to build America’s road system came from the motorists that paid the gas tax. If government didn’t monopolize the field private industry would have built toll roads. The politicians as a class in DC have done a terrible job that is why their approval ratings are in single digits. The judges in Massachusetts have been a dishonest lot both in the state and federal courts ( probation, Swartz, Turner, Connolly, Rico, Murphy, Grieg and Parade cases). Should we applaud Coakley and Ortiz for their malicious prosecutions? Should we be thankful that the prosecutors in Boston released 8 serial killers to convict one. Who sent all those soldiers off to die? Was it Google, Raytheon, Gillette, Market Basket or the government? The government gave us Viet Nam, Korea , WW1, WW2, Iraq et al. Hundreds of thousands dead. Some of those conflicts started under false pretense. Many do cheer for businesses because they employ over 80% of the workers and produce 100% of the nation’s wealth. There are many good public workers but their compensation package is double what is obtained in the private sector. The minimum wage is an irrelevancy in a growing thriving economy. McDonalds in North Dakota has to pay $17 an hour because of the other work opportunities in the area. Today the federal government is a rigged system with insiders like GE paying no tax on $15 billion profit and blue collar workers paying 25% of their income in tax. 2. One of the great crimes in history was the government bail out of Wall Street. While many lost their homes and jobs the insiders sent trillions to the banditti in NYC. Some decline to applaud government.

    1. NC:

      Reagan’s simplicity appealed to some; no nation can operate without a government. Reagan left office in 1989 after the Iran/Contra scandal. The Democrate president that followed him created almost 50% more jobs than Reagon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobs_created_during_U.S._presidential_terms
      Some government schools are better than private ones; but generally the government has to educate everyone – private schools educate mostly the rich. Again, government housing has to provide for the poor, those with money don’t live there. Would you want a government not educating and housing the poor? Who would do it?
      They’d be no American highway system without the government. Of course the people paid for it through their taxes like they pay for every government program. Are you suggesting somehow it is different because the taxes came from motorists who filled up their cars. You couldn’t have the system without eminent domain which is a government function. How could private industry build roads without the power of eminent domain. Who would judge the fairness of the land taking? Isn’t that done by government employees?
      The politicians have made America what it is. It is the politicians that raised the Army and gave it the weapons it needed. I’m not sure what you would put in their place.
      The judges have given us the laws under which the nation thrives. Not all have been as good as others, one can point a finger at a handful, but we are a nation of laws. Tell me what would you put in place of judges. Or do you think we can function without laws. You complain about some of Ortiz’s and Coakley’s prosecutorial judgments, but those are only a few of the many decisions they make. I complain too but I understand these are only part of their decision making. Take out both women, who do you put in their place? Are there any prosecutors you like or do you think they should all be eliminated?
      As far as who sent the soldiers off to die, it was the government. Would you have preferred we not have fought in any of those wars? Korea – let that fall to the Communists of the north; WWII – let the Nazis take over Europe; some wars were mistakes after the fact but who knows what would have happened had we not gone into them.
      Business cannot function unless it is part of an orderly society. Do away with the road, the harbors, the airports, the courts, and other government functions you don’t have any businesses. Take away government and you have businesses like GE and many others (Apple, etc) that won’t pay taxes. Take away government and you’ll be like North Korea.
      2. What would have happened if Wall Street was not bailed out? Sure the government makes mistakes and is comprised of greedy people but for the most part it runs fairly well for a human system. No one is asking anyone to applaud government. I’m just suggesting I don’t cheer for businesses and the Red Sox and Patriots are nothing more than businesses and just like I don’t care if Google, Raytheon, or Gillette meet their number I don’t care if Henry or Kraft put more money in their pockets.
      3. Keep in mind nothing works without government. If you don’t like what it is doing proposed some alternatives. Light a candle.

      1. At one time, even after World War II, government was a small part of the American Pie. Federal, state and local government spending—our tax dollars—accounted historically a small fraction, say 30%, on average of the GDP. Today, Government, its employees, its subcontractors, its hired consultants, CONSUMES, I’ve read, 46% of the GDP and may be soon gobbling up more than 50%. With so much fat, government begins to intermeddle and make work and make ridiculous regulations and prosecute innocent people and stymy business growth and innovation.
        Private persons gave us all the advances in Medicine and there would have been more of them if money went directly to researchers (vaccines) practitioners (surgeons) etc without the Government as the MIddle Man regulating professions it knows nothing about. Engineers, scientists, physicians, basic researchers flourish with less government intrusion. You give far too much credit to government employees whose roles should be to facilitate not impair private enterprise (think MGH, Raytheon, Gillette) not impede private initiative. The Rabble in Arms who started American fought against the Oppressive British Government; the patriots weren’t government employees; they were farmers, silversmiths, blacksmiths, private doctors (Joe Warren) private counselors. It’s private initiative that makes American great, not government regulators. Government does some good today, unique good (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Health Corps, Army Engineering Corps, Environmental Regulation) but today Government does far too much evil, stifling many creative hard working folk and enabling fat cats to get fatter. Want to help the US? Prevent all government workers from becoming lobbyists, consultants or contractors for government until 10 years after they’ve left PUblic Service. You got a choice: Serve and not become fat. Or stay in the private sector and swim in the rough waters of rigorous competition. End the Dole, by which I mean, the dole doled out to too many inefficient or power-abusive Federal Workers. Cut the size of government in half. Reduce federal civilian wages to that of the average state workers’ wages and benefits. And increase the salaries/benefits of those who truly serve: Doctors, nurses, and the military (not the civilian employees in the Pentagon where 10,000 civilian employees are making over 175,000 per year) Cut the fat, drastically; cut the jibberish and red tape in too many regulations; downsize and right size government, and stop the Wall Street Lobbyists from running rough shod over the AMerican people.

    2. NC that was the best post ever of anyone! Someone said, “whatever government does, the private sector could do better.” I read a massive management “time study” which showed the average corporate worker worked six hours a day (subtracting coffee breaks, lunch, chatting around the water cooler and twiddling your thumbs) and the average government worker works four hours a day. My gripe is Government has become a wasteful oppressive Monster and Washington D.C. has become an imperious Imperial City controlled by multi-million dollar lobbyists, consultants and contractors. Government does and has done much good throughout our history throughout civilization. But in the US today, government is a wastrel and on the federal level the civilian workforce must be cut in half and salary and benefits reduced to that of the average state government worker. Washington D.C. was never meant to “rule” us or to operate immune from Recessions or to be the wealthiest suburban area in the Nation. It was meant to be small, a respectable backwater, an equal among the states. Not Big Brother. Not Animal Farm. Not the obese indifferent oppressive constitutional-trampling Monster it’s become today.Not the Gigantic Gluttonous Red-Tape-Tax-happy Greedy Selfish MegaMetropolitan Citadel of Elitists, stacked with too many employees from stem to stern who’ve forgotten they are “Public Servants.” 2. Want to see how much the Federal Government cares about the American people: Ask Congress, the Press, the Courts and the FED employees at the IRS to come up with a fair simple tax code that doesn’t let GE pay zero on $$billions in profits/revenue.

      1. Correction: I meant ask Congress, the President (not the press) By the way, want to help fix government? Dissolve all so-called “public-private partnerships.” We’ve seen the evil in Boston of the Feds in the DOJ and Federal judiciary feeding the press inside info and dope, while the Press protects the prosecutors, judges and other DOJ officials. Government should never partner with any private entity. Both get corrupted by the joint venture.

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